Australian police take over the capital of Solomon Islands

“These countries, which are now affecting Malaya, are the countries that do not want ties with the People’s Republic of China and are discouraging Solomon Islands from establishing diplomatic relations and complying with international law and the United Nations resolution.”

Sogavare said he supported his government’s decision to embrace Beijing, which he described as “the only problem” in the violence, which “unfortunately was influenced and encouraged by other forces.”

Australian federal police boarded the RAAF C-130 Hercules in Canberra on Friday. Alex Ellinghausen

Australian Foreign Secretary Marise Payne did not agree that other countries had fueled the unrest.

“We haven’t reported it at all,” Ms. Payne said.

“We have been very clear. Our view is that we do not want to see violence. We very much hope that stability will be restored.”

Local journalist Gina Kekea said the move of foreign policy to Beijing with a slight public consultation was one combination of things that led to the protests. There are also complaints that foreign companies did not provide local jobs.

“Chinese companies and [other] Asian companies … seem to do most of the work, especially when it comes to sourcing resources that people like strongly, ”Kekea said.

China and Taiwan have been competing in the South Pacific for decades, and some island nations have changed their loyalty.

China sees Taiwan as a detached province with no right to interstate relations, which the Taipei government vehemently denies. Only 15 countries have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The last two to give up Taipei for Beijing were the Solomon Islands and Kiribati in September 2019.

Taiwan’s State Department spokeswoman Joanne Ou said in a statement: “We have nothing to do with the unrest.”

“The scenes here are chaotic”

Solomon Island resident Transform Aqorau said more than 100 people robbed shops on Friday before Australian federal police arrived on the scene.

“The scenes here are really chaotic. It’s like a war zone,” Aqorau said by phone Friday morning.

“There is no public transport and no struggle with heat and smoke. The buildings are still burning. “

He later said Australian police were “taking control of them in Chinatown”.

A statement published on the Solomon Islands government website stated that, with the exception of the necessary staff of civil servants, one should stay at home “because of the current unrest in the city of Honiara”.

Australian Defense Secretary Peter Dutton said a plane carrying 23 federal police and several diplomats flew to Honiara late Thursday. On Friday, another 50 police and 43 Defense Forces personnel were to arrive on the scene in a Navy patrol boat.

Australian police were previously deployed to the Solomon Islands in 2003 as part of a Pacific peacekeeping operation mandated by the Pacific Islands Forum, and were there for ten years.

Serious internal unrest and armed conflict between 1998 and 2003 involved militant groups in Guadalcanal and the neighboring island of Malaita, as well as fighting on the outskirts of Honiara.

– With AP